Climate information to inform UK decision making

Climate information encompasses a wide range of products relating to historical observations, present day risks for planning, seasonal forecasts and climate projections. This information is crucial for informing policy and decision-making across all sectors. A key requirement of climate information is that it supports the needs of the identified user community, ensuring it is used, useable and understood. The science-policy interface needs to bring together the requirements of users and the capacity of providers to generate appropriate, relevant and salient climate information to support decision-making.

The Met Office has commissioned a research project, through the UK Climate Resilience Programme, that will determine the next steps needed to produce climate information to support UK climate risk assessment and adaptation decision-making over the next decade. The engagement of users and providers throughout the project is crucial to its success and a co-creation approach will be adopted so that the recommended climate information fulfils the needs of users and is confirmed as technologically viable by providers.

The project will involve an appraisal of the existing use of climate information in risk-relevant decision-making across key sectors, which will then be interrogated through workshops, surveys and interviews with climate information users and providers. The results will identify what information is needed, but not currently provided and present this in the form of a ‘climate science ask’. It will also propose emergent information needs identified through assessing climate information priorities in regions with likely future exposure to weather related hazards not currently experienced in the UK, e.g., risks related to fire weather, heat and drought conditions, post-tropical cyclones, favourable conditions for invasive species and pest, and vector borne diseases.

The research will culminate in the production of a portfolio of climate information recommendations supported by detail on how these should be realised. Recommendations will include the easy to achieve and those that are desirable, but as yet cannot be achieved as they are based on unavailable science. In this way, the end users will be given realistic expectations about what can be achieved in the near term and what may not be achievable without further scientific development.